Archive for March, 2015

Pluck and luck

Aaaand yesterday I came down with a cold.  Not a terrible one–a stuffy nose and intermittently clogged ears are the main symptoms, and I’m hoping it doesn’t morph into other versions, as colds sometimes do.  Last night I even had one clear nostril at all times, for which I was grateful.

It came on a few hours after the yoga class–which was otherwise a friendly introduction to yoga, but I did wonder if I’d somehow redistributed my fluids with all those unfamiliar poses in order to wind up with a headful of snot!

I also hope that I didn’t manage to give the cold to my mom, whom I drove over to Stubb’s parents’ house for a little condolence visit.  Or to Stubb’s parents.

Today I rejiggered my to-do list, uploaded some financial aid forms for the Snork Maiden’s music camp (not sure we’ll get FA, but worth applying), handled a bit of SA correspondence, ordered new glasses, and spent far too much time on Facebook.

I also realized that while I’ve been pleased about staying connected with my current book project via a series of Seinfeld chains, I have been moving among poem drafts much more than I did while writing my first two book manuscripts.  This is partly a function of the way this book is meant to work: it has more of a narrative arc (which is its own problem) and so I am sketching in pieces of it and thinking a little less in terms of each poem as a completed artifact.  However–I am generally all about the poem as a completed artifact on its own, and this chain of blurry drafts is disconcerting to me.

Maybe I need to be disconcerted.  Maybe I need to think about whether this is all one long poem–that was one thing that interested me very much about reading Hirsch’s Gabriel, although I think I understand how that poem’s form serves that poem in a way that’s very particular to its subject matter and speaker.

I was thinking, though, that a good writing goal for the rest of the break would be to select a little group of poems that work well together, that could eventually be submitted together and make sense as a group apart from the longer narrative arc of the book, and pull these through to what I will call, oxymoronically, “finished drafts”–not finished poems but a group of drafts that have plausible beginnings, middles, and ends, even if they will still go through more drafts afterwards.

So I think that’s what I will do.  Six days left of break = six finished drafts.  Let’s see what happens.

Help wanted

Oh, I also did a phone interview with a local candidate.  She and this job probably aren’t the right fit for one another, exactly, but I think she’s great.  She left grad school ABD and has taught at her current school for ten years.  She has done so many interesting things at her current school–revised curriculum, started a speakers’ series, contributed to the community in different ways.  She is really looking for a new challenge, probably at a school that’s more open to innovation than her current school, and while SA is moving in some new directions and who knows what might be possible in a year or two, what we probably need and can offer right now is someone who can teach this particular tenth-grade course, and I didn’t feel right trying to entice her to come over and take a look at us–at this point, anyway.  I was pretty frank about this, but asked her to please stay in touch.

Sleeping on the wing

I slept OK last night, just not long enough–about seven hours.  I had scheduled a massage first thing–and it was wonderful.  Lots of deep tissue work–I hope I’m not sore tomorrow.  Today I just had a nice Saturday.  The Snork Maiden and I played arcade games with Bestfriend and her mom and sister for about an hour, then Bestfriend came over and hung out until it was time for the Snork Maiden and me to go to the party we helped make for our friend.  I got in some reading and a little nap.

Spring break is half over.

Windows and stones

Another not-great night of sleep, this time because of noise in the street.  I’m not exactly sure what was going on, but some kind of rowdiness at a neighbor’s house.  There’s a not-very-stable family renting a house on this block, with a teenage son whose friends come and go at odd hours.  When they first moved in, there were a couple of out-of-control parties, and the police were involved.  (Our neighbor in law enforcement is a good person to know.) Things have been quieter since then, but Neighbor C’s hypothesis that the son is a small-time drug dealer, and that the young adults who park in front of the house for a few minutes at a time are his customers, seems sadly plausible.

I looked up the police non-emergency line and sat for a while, listening and trying to decide if it was worth calling, while also thinking that Neighbor C–whose house is right across from the rented house–would likely call if she heard the noise.  It wasn’t constant–it was bursts of loud conversation followed by silence, and cars revving and then shutting off.  Then it seemed to be over, and I went to bed, but took a long time to fall asleep and then didn’t sleep well.

Today was mostly about attending Stubb’s uncle’s funeral, which was all right, as these things go.  He was a very sweet person.  He was 85, he had been ill.  It was good to see Stubb’s cousins, etc.  One of them, just six months younger than Stubb and therefore his special pal in childhood, is moving out our way in a few months, with her partner and their two kids, to have more space and to be near the partner’s mom.  This is kind of exciting news because we always wish we saw more of them.

The spirit level

Didn’t sleep that well last night, oddly.  Maybe it’s Stubb being away.  Anyway, seven-ish hours, I guess.

Today I ran, had breakfast, showered, wrote for a little while (yes!), and went out to a small local art exhibit and lunch with Dr. Tea and one of my cousins.  Then home to work with our friend’s sister-in-law on some last few details about the party, and then drove the Snork Maiden to see a friend who is home from college. Then ate ice cream for dinner.  So, more of a fun-centered day, although a little angsty as regards the Snork Maiden, for various teenage reasons.



Haven’t broken anything today, and there isn’t much time left before bed.  I did track my time pretty closely today.

Sleep: 9 hours

Personal projects: 5 hours*

SA Admin: 2.5 hours**

SA Prep: 1.5 hours***

Driving: 2 hours****

Meals: 45 minutes

Family tasks: 30 minutes*****

Reading: 30 minutes******

Breaks: 30 minutes

Exercise: 30 minutes

Housework: 15 minutes

*Not, unfortunately, writing.  The big project was working on my part of this party for our (temporarily, following surgery) housebound friend.

**Much of this was reviewing and communicating with job candidates.  I am hoping to meet a few local candidates next week, and we have someone from out of the area coming shortly after break.

***Tidying up my classroom, organizing some grading to take home, looking over my Slaughterhouse-Five materials, some stuff for the literary magazine–probably some of this is Admin rather than Prep.

****Good grief, the driving.  I was taking the Snork Maiden to a friend’s anyway, so I went in to SA and did my work, but then she had a sax lesson…I am driving half again as much (conservative estimate) as I normally do during the week.

*****Signed the Snork Maiden up for online driver’s ed; she can get her learner’s permit next month.  Made an online request for the city to come out and look at a tree in front of our house that needs trimming, and reported some fallen and broken branches.  Bank stuff, etc.

*****Slaughterhouse-Five, though I will go to bed now and read something else.



A crack in everything

I dropped and broke a bowl on Sunday.  Today, I somehow managed to crack two clean glasses against each other with my ring finger in the middle.  One glass broke, one glass survived, and there’s a bloody crack in my fingernail–but, I think, no glass shard.

Stubb is doing an out-of-town gig that started today.  He’s just a couple of hours away, though, so depending on his schedule, we might go see him later this week.

Sleep: 9 hours

Family time: 3 hours*

Errands: 2 hours 45 minutes**

Family driving: 2 hours

Reading: 1.5 hours***

Personal projects: 1 hour

Meals: 1 hour

Exercise: 45 minutes****

Personal care: 45 minutes*****

Housework: 30 minutes******

Tomorrow, writing and SA work need to get back on the list.

*I picked my niece and nephew up from school, and my sister came over after work.  The other part of “family driving” was taking the Snork Maiden to an appointment.

**Much of this was going to Costco, renewing our membership, ordering contact lenses, and then buying groceries, contact lens solution, and a couple of experimental clothing purchases–two-packs of camisoles and sports bras for the Snork Maiden and me.  We have been doing small grocery-store runs every couple of days, but now we have some real provisions in the house.  I also went to the regular grocery store for smaller portions of the things that spoil that we don’t use up as quickly, and made fajitas for dinner for my sister, nephew and niece.

***Edward Hirsch’s Gabriel.  

****I ran Day 3 of Week 5 of Couch to 5k, which means I ran two miles without stopping, which I could do in August but have had to work back up to since getting the piriformis issue calmed down.

*****I ordered five sets of glasses frames through Warby Parker’s Home Try-On program.  It’s free to try them and also free to send them back.

*****It takes longer to wash the dishes when you have to stop the bleeding and clean up broken glass.

Awake and sing

It’s okay if this is not very interesting to you:

Sleep: 8 hours

Reading: 2 hours (mostly a nonfiction book that has some bearing on my current writing project)

Visiting/lunch with a friend: 2 hours

Driving (to/from SA, and picking up the Snork Maiden): 2 hours

SA work: 2 hours (mostly administrative stuff, but some teaching stuff.  Tomorrow I need to update my database with the last week’s job applicants)

Personal projects: 2 hours

Personal care, meals, cooking, housework: 1.5 hours

Exercise: 1/2 hour

Watching Jeopardy!: 1/2 hour

Not quite sure where the rest of it went–phone calls, emails, checking Facebook, reading blogs, and so on, for sure, but what else?  There might be another half hour of reading in there, last night before bed.  I wasn’t particularly vigilant about Time Tracker today, so this is mostly estimation.

Spring awakening

Today’s stats:

Sleep: 10 hours again–8 at night, 2 napping.

Family time: 4 hours (brunch with Stubb’s parents, a visit to my mom)

Reading: 2 hours  (mostly Janet Malcolm’s Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession; here’s a review.  Also the Paul Strohm Chaucer’s Tale: 1386 and the Road to Canterbury; as I mentioned to Bardiac, I’d been having trouble with it, but today I flipped toward the end and found a few passages that were really affecting, about Chaucer’s creation of a “portable audience” within the Tales, in the absence of certainty about a reading audience–to the limited extent that one existed)

Meals: 1 hour

Writing: 1 hour (burrowing among some recent drafts I haven’t touched in a couple of weeks)

Exercise: 45 minutes (a run with Stubb)

Housework: 1/2 hour

Personal projects: 1 hour (including making plans for the week, signing up for a free introductory yoga class, and preparing lunch to take to a housebound friend)

Untracked time was mostly futzing around the house, a couple of errands, and Web surfing (including a good deal of reading).

Heading to SA for a few hours in the morning.

First day of spring

Well, here we are in spring break 2015.  In a characteristic reaction to the prospect of sixteen days of largely unstructured time, I updated my Time Tracker phone app, which I haven’t used much in the last few years, and took off all the NLNRU-related categories, replacing them with some more specific spring break activities in an attempt to notice how I spend my time this break and, of course, spend it in ways that I will be happy about later.

So here’s a rough accounting of how I spent the past 24 hours or so:

Sleep: 10 hours (!)

Working on tax stuff: 3 hours

Driving the Snork Maiden to and from a volunteer commitment: 2 hours

Going out to dinner and hanging out with Stubb: 2 hours

Meals: 2 hours

Housework and cooking: 1 hour

Breaks from tax stuff, housework, etc., mostly spent Web surfing (I think there was a shower and some personal care in there also): 1 hour

Exercise (bodyweight workout): 1/2 hour, including warm-up and stretching/cool-down afterwards

Personal projects (this blog, a few emails, planning a party for a friend): 1/2 hour

SA email (to two job candidates and a colleague): 15 minutes?

Now I’m going to go to bed and read!